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Old 03-25-2011, 02:14 AM   #1
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Eugene , Oregon
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First time buyer seeking advice

My wife and I (and our two Danes) have been contemplating buying an airstream ever since camping with friends that had just purchased a 23' flying cloud last year. With the two giants we settled on 25' as a good length for us, but were on the fence about spending so much without really knowing if we'd use it. After a skiing injury led to knee surgery this winter the plans were put on hold. Now spring is here, I'm almost off crutches and out of nowhere this 2012 Eddie Bauer edition appears on the dealer website. Well we had to see it in person, and have now both become enamored with it. It's as if they tweaked the flying cloud in all the right ways (at least for the needs of the dogs . The pull down screen across the back hatch is perfect! The engineering of the hatch seems well thought out and appears unlikely to suffer from leaks with the way that things overlap. Friends say we're too young to move out of tents for camping but I say you only live once and if this enables us to get out more often and for more of the year it's totally worth it!

So we're working out the details before we take the plunge and I've been searching the forums like mad, but since we've never owned a TT (or anything more complicated than a tent) I just wanted to lay out my thoughts and see if anyone had some feedback.

Typical use will be the instances we currently camp in now: 2-3 night trips to either state parks (that often have hook ups) or more often utilizing dispersed camping or small campgrounds in the national forests, blm land, and the like. A music festival or two and longer trips a couple times a year if we're lucky In terms of options then I've been talking with the dealer about a perhaps a second awning for the far side, and perhaps solar and/or an extra battery. Am i overlooking anything i'd want from the dealer option-wise? Is solar a good idea? (I'm not a fan of using a generator due to noise).

As far as unhooked use, I know the tv and ac are out, but what else can you not use with battery/gas? I was also going to have the dealer install an antenna and amp kit from Wilson wireless to use with a verizon mifi to keep in touch with work when necessary. One thing I noticed when walking through the airstream was that the plugs were 120v, is it possible to rewire those to instead be 12V car type plugs run from the batteries? I already have an adapter for the laptop, and the only other things to charge would be cell phones.

I was also hoping for some advice on towing. We currently own a 2011 Z71 suburban (1/2 ton). The rated tow capacity is 7900 lbs, and the manual says it can handle 1500 lbs on a WD hitch. The Eddie bauer edition weighs in at 5700 dry, 7300 max, and 833 on the hitch dry. It seems like I'm within limits albeit at the upper end of things. Is this going to be a comfortable tow? In particular on smaller 2 lane highways and some gravel forest service roads? What hitch/sway combination would one recommend for this set up?

Finally I was wondering what discount people typically receive off list from a dealer. The salesperson I talked to said 8000-9000 off would be typical on a comparable flying cloud or international, but that since the Eddie Bauer is a new 2012 and a unique edition maybe less than half that (it was left vague)? The sticker without other options is $73,700 and we're hoping to come in under 75k with hitch and options with a bit of wiggle room.

I know this ended up being a long and rambling post, but I'd love to hear any/all advice and thoughts!

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Old 03-25-2011, 04:11 AM   #2
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Davis's Avatar
1996 34' Excella
Americus , Georgia
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 311
Hi, Welcome to the forum .I do not personally have solar panels but it sounds like a good idea for the boondocking that you want to do. I have heard of people being able to run their a/c ,microwave,tv providing that they have enough solar panels and sunlight. My 91 trailer has 12 volt hookups in it in the living room , bedroom and bathroom.
We also us a 2004 1/2 ton Suburban to tow our trailer which exceeds the limits of 7900 lbs but so far has done fine for us and is better on gas when not towing .
I have not shopped for a new airstream so I don`t know what discounts are available. Good Luck.

1991 Airstream Excella 1000 34ft (SOLD)
1994 Chevrolet Crew Cab dually 2WD 6.5td
2005 Chevrolet Suburban LT 1500 2WD 5.3
WBCCI # 10219 Georgia Unit
AIR # 5131
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:21 AM   #3
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1987 34' Excella
Bonifay , Florida
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 26
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1. The outlets, although 120, are running from a 12v supply due to the convertor. I cannot use heavy draw appliances like a/c and m/w.
2. If you plan on boondocking a solar panel is a good way to go but you may find dual batteries to be sufficient for your average length of stay.
3. My AS is an 87, I have no idea about the proper markup.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:22 AM   #4
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1987 34' Excella
Bonifay , Florida
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You should be fine with a new trailer, late model vehicle in good condition. Have a dealer setup your hitch and enjoy.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:57 AM   #5
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2007 31' Classic
Pulaski , Tennessee
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Sounds like you plan mixed use (some with 110v hookups some without). Sounds like what we do. Even though we don't have hookups quite often, it is still nice to have the ac for those times when we do.

You may decide to add a generator to your list of extras. If you do, you should consider a low noise type Inverter Generator. Honda and Yamaha both have a nice selection. I would go with either two EU2000i or the EU3500i unit. Some people choose two EU2000i's because when joined together they produce plenty of power for anything in your trailer and individually they are lighter and easier to handle. I have a single EU2000i and use it for everything except the ac.
Steve & Beth
AIR 22763
07' Classic 31, 11' Dodge 3500 Cummins
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:25 AM   #6
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The issue for you is how much you will use your new trailer.
R.V. camping takes more time than car trips. If you have only a few days a time for trips and a few weeks a year, you may feel rushed and feel like you are not getting your $$ worth out of your new Airstream, particularly if it precludes other travel.
Your tow vehicle is fine for the intended use.
Even uses requiring 120 volts such as tv's and small coffee maker are possible with an inverter. With ingenuity, you can do anything you want to do without hookups.
Our 70 pound dog is always where we want to step. I can't imagine what our 25 foot Safari would be like with two 125 pound dogs on board. R.V. living is best when the people and the dogs are outside.
We got into RV ing slowly when we were working long hours with a smaller, cheaper trailer. We didn't feel guilty for not using it when we wanted to hop on a plane on the spur of the moment. When we had more time and found we liked RV travel we upgraded.
Even Airstreams depreciate steeply. For half or less of the price of your new Eddie Bauer, you could purchase a near new Airstream and see if you like it as much as you think you will.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:13 AM   #7
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2011 30' Classic
Ridgefield , Washington
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New AS

Hello, and welcome to the forum.

On our new AS we have a 145W Zamp Solar panel connected to 2 "27" AGM batteries. We dry camped in Yosemite two weeks ago, and the temps were in the 30's at night. The furnace ran multiple times ( even though on low setting) thru the night. The panel replenished the batteries almost completely during the day--even with the less intense sunshine in March--and we had no problems. We do have the twin Honda 2K gen set....ran beautifully.

The solar panel will replenish the batteries faster than a trickle charge from your TV.

The "weakest links" on any TT would be the tires and the hitch. Research the hitch carefully. The shorter the TT the more problems one might have with sway..see latest edition of the Airstream Life.

We towed thru some nasty winds and storms, using the ProPride hitch. Had absolutely no problems. Can't endorse it strongly enough.

Hope you "new AS" is as much a dream come true as ours........ Zigi

Ps: I have had three knee surgeries--two "opens". I feel your pain!
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:09 AM   #8
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Eugene , Oregon
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Posts: 23
Thanks for all the replies everyone!

I'm glad to hear there are other 1/2 ton suburban drivers out there. That car is already our work horse for moving around these two great danes! The danes have also been a major motivation for the purchase. We don't like to kennel our dogs, so they come with. That's shaped our travel and our camping (only fly to get out to the other coast, we now have a 6-person tent for us and the dogs, and we have to take coolers for their lbs of food even for a few days). We're pretty sure we'll get the use out of the TT because of them as well. Here in the middle of Oregon we're fortunate to be 2-3 hours drive from just about any environment you could want: forest, desert, mountains, and a stunning coast... at the low low price of a fair share of rain for half the year. Hiking/Camping would be a lot more fun with a dry place to come back to!

We've thought about going used, but the Eddie Bauer's rear hatch and foldable furniture really address some of the unique considerations that come with traveling with nearly 300 lbs of dog The tucked in counter space and foldable rear furniture may be intended for storage of kayaks and the like, but it'd sure come in handy for providing the floor space necessary for their enormous dog beds at night.

As far as the power, I've been back in contact with the dealer who has been very helpful with options. I'm leaning towards their suggestion of 2 95-watt solar panels and switching out the batteries for the 6-volt deep cycle variety. I don't imagine our camping habits would make us heavy power users so we'll see if a generator ends up being necessary or not down the road.

Zigi- The dealer had recommended the equalizer hitch brand (~800 bucks) do you think the ProPride is worth the extra cost even with a 25'? I've read some great reviews about the ProPride so I was already thinking about moving in that direction.
...and 3 knee surgeries! I can't imagine going through this again let alone twice!
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:25 AM   #9
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We go for 3 or 4 days just on just batteries with no problem. I carried a Honda 2000i on an 8 week trip last fall to recharge but never needed it. Our usual schedule was 3 or 4 days boondocking then one night at a campground to fill, dump and charge. I think you'll do just fine with the dogs in the EB.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
We go for 3 or 4 days just on just batteries with no problem. I carried a Honda 2000i on an 8 week trip last fall to recharge but never needed it. Our usual schedule was 3 or 4 days boondocking then one night at a campground to fill, dump and charge. I think you'll do just fine with the dogs in the EB.
Do you have the factory installed solar panels on your Airstream? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth the nearly $3,000 cost. I'm not sure what it will do for me as I have never had a travel trailer before.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:11 PM   #11
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Hampton , Virginia
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I couldn't remember where I read pricing data in the past, but I know that in the fall and winter the VA dealer (Safford RV) and the one in NJ (Colonial Airstream) were regularly advertising any where from 18 to 22% off the MSRP. At least on the non-bambis. Bambi's have a much smaller margin to begin with. 20% off of your $73,700 price is $14,470 - so I can easily see why the sales person would offer up $8-9,000 so readily. To me if they are advertising 20% off you know there is likely more room to work with. A neighbor of mine works on repairing RVs and makes a really good living. He once told me for campers/RV start at a minimum of 30% off retail, if not 40%. But to be fair he was talking about other manufacturers not AS.

Now that said. It really might be tighter on the first year of the new Eddie Bauer model. But I for one would start with as low of an offer as possible - say 30% off retail.

I would also get their MRSP for all options (except your hitch) and still offer the same % off the full sales price. I have absolutely no idea on how to price out a hitch from the MSRP.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:01 PM   #12
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1971 27' Overlander
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Welcome to the forums from another dane hauler! You're not kidding about the floor space required -- we have two kids at a dane with us, and we had to redo some of the furniture in ours to accomodate all of the kids and dogs!

Visit our crazy full-timing blog (us,kids and dogs living the dream):

Join us at the TAC Walt Disney World Rally, November 4th - 10th, 2012:
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:16 PM   #13
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Severna Park , Maryland
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On price, think Getaways have it pegged about right. Suspect you'll have a little less leverage on the new Eddie Bauer; but, seems perfect for your purpose. Have purchased new a couple of model year "leftovers" in the past and was quite pleased with my discounts.

There are lots of posts on tow vehicle selection. My gross weight is almost exactly yours and I'm towing with a new gas 3/4 Ford with a 10k tow capacity. No powerhouse in the mountains; but, the new transmissions make up well for the torque shortfall. Just didn't want diesel.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:52 PM   #14
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2008 22' Safari
Oracle , Arizona
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
We go for 3 or 4 days just on just batteries with no problem. I carried a Honda 2000i on an 8 week trip last fall to recharge but never needed it. Our usual schedule was 3 or 4 days boondocking then one night at a campground to fill, dump and charge. I think you'll do just fine with the dogs in the EB.
We can go for 4-5 days on a single GR27 battery but bring along a Honda 2000i if staying longer. Summertime finds us in the higher elevations in the shade so Solar didn't seem cost effective. That EB should do you well.

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